Welcome to my blog!

I believe that if you love doing something, it's impossible to fail. I have always loved taking pictures but never would have guessed that I could have this much fun doing it. Take a look around, get comfortable, and let me know what you think....

Monday, July 26, 2010


Well my first official family portrait session was yesterday and I couldn't have asked for better people to work with.  Gary, Christy, and sweet little Mae were such good sports and let us drag them all over the ISD campus in Council Bluffs for picture taking fun.  We played with frogs and bubbles and...yes I said FROGS! A big Thanks to Shanda for assisting me on this one.  I didn't love the "bubble shower" she gave me but it's all part of the fun!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Prices Are Now Posted!

I've received several requests lately for pricing.  Of course that's extremely flattering, but I can't lie - it caused a bit of panic.  What do I charge? How do I charge? What pricing structure should I use? These and about a thousand other questions have been flooding my mind for the last few weeks.  I've done a lot of research and shopping and I think I've found the best solution to fit my situation. 

First of all, I'll address the question of "sitting fees".  I've decided just keep it simple and skip those all together.  I'm not at a point where I really feel the need to charge them.  In fact, I'm not sure that I ever will. 

Secondly, the reason I have proofs included with every package is that I really want people to see what a professional quality print looks like.  You can take your CD and have your photographs printed at the vendor of your choice - however you should know that their quality isn't always the best.  I have to recommend if you are actually going to print your own photos, that you use a place like Rockbrook Camera. (another plug for my friends at Rockbrook. If they only knew!) 

Third - I've decided to name my packages after important and influential females in my life.  Lola - the chihuahua pug mix my husband and I got at the Humane Society almost a year ago.  She is the closest thing I have to a child right now and brings me endless happiness.  KerryAnn - my sister and dearest friend.  She's my biggest cheerleader and supporter.  When we were little girls I used to sneak in her bed at night when I was scared and she always made me feel safe.  We laugh about that now!   Even though I am 33 years old, I still find comfort in knowing she's nearby.

Coming Soon! - I have a family session tomorrow with Christy, Gary, and their beautiful little girl.  I hope to have their pictures to share with you within the next couple days.  
Lola & Kerry

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tagging Along

So, this past weekend I got the pleasure of tagging along with Shanda on a senior picture session.  Let me just tell you it was like 89 degrees outside and we were all sweating like beasts.  I love going along with Shanda though.  I mean if you are lucky enough to get to be someone's assistant on a shoot, you really get to learn a lot.  I used a giant piece of white poster board (her reflector) to reflect the sun and reduce the shadows.  I also used that same chunk of poster board to fan the poor girl that was getting photographed! Anyway, I took a few pictures myself and worked on using my manual setting.  My top pic is above.  I was fascinated by this young lady's tattoo.  It's the symbol for "Dream" she told me.  What a great way to ensure you never forget your dreams! And, I couldn't resist sneaking in a picture of Ms. Shanda so you all can put a face with her name.  Now - if she reads my blog, she might kill me.  If she doesn't...well then it serves her right for not reading my blog! Big props to my friend and mentor for being so forthcoming with all of her knowledge and for letting me tag a long all the time!   Until next time....

Saturday, July 10, 2010


My favorite little guy, Cooper, is a little over 6 weeks old now.  So, Angela invited me over to take some 4th of July themed pics.  I used a 50 mm macro lens (thanks Rockbrook for letting me exchange).  I was super excited to try out all of the new things I had learned last week in the Canon EOS Discovery Day workshop.  However, I took so much away from that class, that I didn't even know what to try first.  I shot all of these pictures in "Manual" mode which was a first for me.  (thanks to Shanda for that inspiration)  All of my other recent ones were shot in "Aperature Priority" mode.  Here are a few of my favories.
Angela worked as a great assistant keeping Coop content and calm for his pictures. 
Cooper loved laying in this bucket for the most part. 
I got several great shots, so it's hard to pick just a couple. 

- Taking a short break -

Monday, July 5, 2010

4th of July Weekend

I had no real plans for the weekend and was trying to figure something out.  I plan on taking some more pictures of Cooper this Thursday and wanted to rent a lens for that. So...I thought to myself "Let's rent a lens for the whole week and really see what I can do."  So, I rented a 100mm macro lens from Rockbrook camera.  I am learning the hard way how to interpret the numbers on lenses.  First of all -100 mm means I have to be able to back up pretty far from my subject in order to get them entirely in the photo.  Not such an easy task in a house or smaller space.  Also - I swear the lens weighs at least 2 or 3 pounds and is pretty big - not ideal for walking around trying to find bugs to photograph.  So, tomorrow I am going back to Rockbrook and begging them to let me switch it out for the 50mm macro for the rest of the week.  Otherwise I will just be able to get a bunch of pictures of little Cooper's hands and feet and not much else.  I did manage to have a bit of fun with this lens in my backyard and out at my grandma's house Saturday.  Here are a few pictures from the weekend:

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Kerry Got Married!

My sister, Kerry, was married on June 19th.  These are her girls. I will spare you all the hundreds of pictures I took and just share a few of my favorites.  And, I'm posting my sister's favorite picture that I took of her. I think she was getting ready to toss the boquet.  And, knowing Kerry, she was likely threatening a shy single lady that didn't want to come out to the middle of the room.  Her friend Christy caught the flowers, so we'll see if I'm posting pictures of her wedding in the future!

Cooper - my first newborn photo

This, friends, is Cooper. He was just over 2 weeks old in this  picture and his mom is my friend, Angela.  You will likely be reading more about both of them in the future.  I was extremely nervous about taking these pictures.  But somehow, I was still slightly over-confident when I parked my car in front of their house.  I can't help but laugh now when I think of how quickly that confidence faded. I can imagine what a mess I must have looked like. Scrunching my face, sweating, and desperately trying to figure out how to get the shot.

Macro Fun

A few weeks later, Shanda and I went on another photowalk.  For this one, I rented a 50 mm macro lens from Rockbrook Camera.  For those of you who didn't know - they rent cameras and lenses for very reasonable prices, so you can try them out before you buy them. There's a whole other tiny world out there that you can capture with macro lenses.  Macro lenses are also very good for portraits because you get very sharp images and they typically have some wider aperatures.  Shanda and I had so much fun that day.  We laughed, rolled around on the ground, and tried as hard as we could to find some bugs.  We didn't have luck with the bugs and secretly I was relieved.

My "PhotoWalk" with Shanda

Okay, so let me introduce you to Shanda - no picture, because she would hate me if I posted one - but Shanda really deserves the credit for my camera purchase.  She is the one who showed me how accessible photography could be.  And the person who was very honest with me about how much work goes into learning how to properly take a photo.  About a year ago, she told me I should buy a DSLR camera and I just wasn't ready, for too many reasons to mention.  Anyway, she is my "Photography Myagi", Sensei, mentor, or whatever you want to call her.  She really has helped teach me a lot, point me to the right resources, etc.  I wouldn't have learned half of what I have, if she hadn't been so willing to share with me.  You will read her name frequently in my blogs. 
Now that you've been formally introduced, this photo was taken on my first "photo walk" with Shanda. (May 2, 2010) We walked around the Old Market and she let me learn on her camera.  We took pictures of fences, and buildings, and cars, and really everything that grabbed us.  The biggest lesson I learned that day was how to switch my focus points from automatic to manual selection.  That little button on the back of my camera changed the look of my pictures going forward.  If you have a Canon Rebel camera and want to learn more, just let me know. I'd be happy to tell you how to find your button.  :)

So, I took a begginner DSLR class at Rockbrook Camera (highly recommend it!) and couldn't wait to get home and put Lola to work modeling for me.  I was finally starting go "get" some of those terms I kept hearing.  Even if you have a standard point and shoot camera - Rockbrook offers some really affordable classes that can help you get more out of your pictures.  And...no I don't work for them and they don't pay me to say nice things about them.  :)

These are some of my first pics of Lola in my backyard.  You'll notice, the color isn't very vibrant.  I had no idea how to do any editing at this time really.  You'll see more of those color "adventures" in future posts.  I was really just trying to understand shutter speed and aperature.

The first pictures

I was using fully automatic mode at this point, and had no idea you really shouldn't shoot in direct sunlight unless you want a bright "over exposed" picture. LOL, oh well, we had fun that day. I took my nieces and nephews to the old market - subway for lunch, shopping, and Ted & Wally's ice cream for dessert. In the words of Rachael Ray, "YUMMO"!

My first post..

Hmm...I have a couple months of making up to do. So, I'll post some pictures and some comments/tips shortly. If you've read my introduction, you understand the core purpose of this blog. The other reason I felt compelled to start a blog is that learning how to use a DSLR is difficult. There are a lot of resources available, but you have to know how to find them, understand the terminology, and have the time to sift through all of the options. I am not one of those people who can read about something in technical terms and figure out how to do it. So, as I post, I will try to share something I've learned recently for those of you who are also learning how to use your camera. I guess I have to give the disclaimer - I am not an expert - I only know what I know and right now that's very limited. That's the beauty of it really. :)